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China’s property sector continues to cool in July

THE overall pace of home price growth continued to slow down in China last month with first- and selected second-tier cities seeing largest setbacks, the National Bureau of Statistics said today.

The number of Chinese cities witnessing a month-over-month rise in new home prices fell to 51 in July, a further decrease of four from June, according to the bureau, which monitors prices in 70 cities across the country. They declined in 16 cities and were flat in the remaining three.

Xiamen in southeastern Fujian Province, where new home prices advanced 4.6 percent last month from June, overtook Hefei in Anhui Province as the nation's leading gainer. Hefei followed closely with a month-over-month price rise of 4.2 percent, decelerating from a 4.9 percent gain in June. Nanjing, capital of neighboring Jiangsu Province, came the third place with a monthly growth of 3.6 percent.

"The pace of price growth continued to slow down in July with gateway cities and selected second-tier cities, where home prices jumped too fast previously, seeing the most notable retreats whereas most of the lower-tier ones recorded rather stable performances," said Liu Jianwei, a senior bureau statistician.

Among the country's four first-tier cities, Shenzhen led again with a 2 percent month-on-month gain in new home prices, down from 2.6 percent in June. It was trailed by Beijing's 1.7 percent, Shanghai's 1.4 percent and Guangzhou's 1.3 percent growth, all decelerating from their increase in June which stood at 2.3 percent, 2.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

"While from a headline figure perspective the leveling off of the price growth rates at 0.72 percent look reassuring, we are continuing to see acceleration of growth rates in second- and third-tier cities at a time when smaller cities are starting to see prices fall once again," said James Macdonald, head of China research at Savills, a global real estate consultancy.

Year on year, new home prices rose in 58 cities in July, fell in 11 cities, and were flat in one.

In the pre-owned market, prices rose in 52 cities last month from a year earlier and fell in the rest 18 cities.


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